The late community activist and educator Claude Bond is being honored through a virtual series presented by Chattanooga State Community College’s Early College Department.
Titled ‘The Ties That Bond,’ the bi-weekly series will showcase African American heritage through arts and culture. The event is sponsored by the Chattanooga State Foundation’s Lyndhurst Arts & Culture Fund and Chattanooga State’s Humanities and Fine Arts Division in partnership with ArtsBuild.
The series kicked off on Monday with an introduction to the great-great-grandson of slaves.
Born in Brownsville, near Memphis, Bond was a principal at Montgomery High School in Lexington, near Jackson, for 21 years.
He made his way to Chattanooga in 1956 to become principal of The Howard School, also known as Howard School of Academics and Technology. Bond was also known for his work toward improving race relations. For his efforts, Chattanooga State named its humanities building after him.
When he retired, Bond was part of many organizations including the Chattanooga Board of Education, Tennessee Board of Regents, State Court of the Judiciary, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and the University of Tennesee-Chattanooga Chancellors’ Roundtable, according to his obituary.
He died in his home on July 11, 2000, at 89.
His accolades include the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award, the Tennessee Education Association Presidential Merit Award, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Alpha Achievement Award and the Liberty Bell Award. He was also a National Education Association lifetime member and member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
On Thursday, Hamilton County school board member Karitsa Jones discussed community politics and how to get involved in local government. Councilman Anthony Byrd was scheduled to attend but experienced technical difficulties.
Jones, a 2003 and 2005 graduate of Alabama A&M University, has been on the school board since 2016 and was the only minority member until Marco Perez was elected in August.
During the virtual panel, Jones told a story of her first time registering to vote.
“For my 18th birthday my mother picked me up from school and we went straight to the election office so I could register and took me right back to school,” Jones said. “That’s how important voting is in my family.”
Jones concluded her hourlong talk by encouraging people to vote in federal, state and municipal elections and if inspired to run for office.
“If we don’t have our perspective at the table then oftentimes the community doesn’t understand or have that perspective of what it is like being a member of our community,” Jones said.